A project years in the making will start with a symbolic, controlled blast on top of America’s Mountain.
“The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex will judiciously preserve and protect one of the world’s most well-known and beloved sites,” said Jack Glavan, the manager of Pikes Peak Highway, in an email.
The city of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Forest Service will host a groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility at 9 a.m. Monday, June 4 on Pikes Peak’s summit.
“We are proud that it will be built to the highest standards in environmental sustainability, ensuring that it is as functional as it is maintainable, and it will educate, inform and inspire visitors through interpretive exhibits for generations to come,” Glavan said.
One of the last requirements for the new complex to begin was the completion of an Environmental Assessment issued by the U.S. Forest Service in early May, which delivered a “Finding of No Significant Impact.”
The mountain has experienced record-setting visitation numbers over the last few years, which Glavan believes the new complex will only intensify.
“Increased visitation will help generate economic and social benefits and, we believe, elevate the reputation of our city and the Pikes Peak region throughout the state, nation and even the world,” he said. “The Pikes Peak Summit Complex is a visionary investment in the region’s future.”
Glavan said multiple partners have worked with the city and U.S. Forest Service on the project, including the National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Office, The Broadmoor Pikes Peak Cog Railway, U.S. Army High Altitude Research Laboratory and Colorado Springs Utilities, as well as the major permit holders.
“From the very first Summit House stakeholder kick-off meeting in April 2013, this project has been all about great partnerships and collaboration,” he said. “It has also been a community project with hundreds of residents weighing in on the design, and it will continue to provide ways throughout construction for citizens to participate.”
Despite the challenges of construction work at 14,000 feet above sea level, particularly with severe weather conditions and a limited building season, the new complex is expected to be complete by the fall of 2020, Glavan said.
“In the meantime, the existing Summit House will remain 100 percent operational,” he said. “This project has and will continue to reinvest in the community with local key project leads, including RTA Architects and GE Johnson, and it will be the most accessible mountaintop facility in the country, providing an inspiring destination that anyone, regardless of their age or ability, will be able to access and enjoy.”
An additional celebration event for the groundbreaking will be held at 4:30 p.m. June 4 at the Penrose House Garden Pavilion, 1661 Mesa Avenue.